Feature: Chinese Enterprises Help Disadvantaged Students Pursue Education in UgandaE
For many Ugandans, education is seen as a key to success. Many students drop out of school because their parents cannot afford to pay their tuition fees.
Betty Nakyobe, a senior three student at Luyanzi College in central Uganda, would be among the many seated at home if she did not get a helping hand from the Chinese enterprises in Uganda.
Nakyobe is among the 155 students who are benefiting from the Chinese enterprises scholarship program which started in 2013 at Luyanzi, a secondary school owned by a Chinese businesswoman, Wang Lihong.
"I see many students like me who need education but can't afford. I am fortunate I got a Chinese sponsorship, otherwise I would be home because my parents couldn't afford to pay my fees," said Nakyobe.
Christian Kabito, a senior five student, sees the scholarship program as an opportunity to many academically excellent students but unable to afford tuition fees.
"If it wasn't of the scholarship, I wouldn't be at this prestigious and excellent school because my parents couldn't be able to afford the school fees," said Kabito.
Zheng Biao, a representative of the China Enterprises Chamber of Commerce in Uganda, sees education as critical to the development of Uganda.
"We believe students are the future and development of this country. We are looking for more cooperation between the Chinese enterprises, Ugandan local community and institutions like Luyanzi," Zheng said.
Shen Jie, Managing Director of Mirembe Villas, one of the contributors to the scholarship program said education of disadvantaged student is important.
"We have very many Chinese that are passionate to help the local people especially in education sector. We believe through education students can get a brighter future and develop this country," said Shen.
They were speaking at a function where Mirembe Villas gave four full scholarships for four years to students at Luyanzi.
Ismail Mulindwa, the commissioner for private schools and institutions at the ministry of education, said the scholarships would strengthen people to people relations and also boost bilateral ties between the two governments.
"We are very grateful for the scholarships. The scholarship enhance and promote the existing bilateral cooperation and relationship between Uganda and China," said Mulindwa.
The scholarship beneficiaries are hopeful that if they perform better, they could get an opportunity to study in China.
"I look at it as a very big opportunity," said Kabito. "We can tap their expertise and experience for the development of our country."
"I have a dream of becoming a mechanical engineer and hope to do it probably in China," he added.